a "little" bookshelf

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." -- Dr. Seuss

Books, books, and more books. The collection is ever growing in our home, which I love, as the smell of a new book and the feeling of breaking open its binding are the happiest of sensations. Pouring stories into AK's mind and heart has been an important piece of our everyday parenthood since we were putting her crib together. Books are constant companions, tools for our mind and our imagination, friends that are always near. Getting into scrapes with Anne, walking across the English countryside with Lizzy and Jane, wandering into magical Narnia with Lucy, fighting for justice with Atticus Finch; I've done all these things and these characters are beloved in my heart. I want AK to know these people, to have these adventures, to be inspired to always be learning more, to see heroes and heroines, and to come away with a greater love for the written word.

Sitting down and reading with Anna Kate, watching her discover the characters and stories that I know and love already or falling into an entirely new story together, is one of the dearest parts of motherhood for me. And when she stacks book after book on itself and plops down on the couch next to me to read every single one of them, my mama's heart swells. She's coming to love these stories, too, and I always want to be handing her more.

This list is just a few of the favorites that we started our bookshelves for AK with. Some I have loved since childhood, as well, and some we've come to know just in the past year. There are countless more that I would put on a list for you, but let's start here with these few dear ones. 

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey // It's gentle and full of the sweetest simplicity, and every time we read it AK and I dream about living on the coast one day, chasing seagulls and digging up clams for dinner. 

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall // One of the best stories ever put to paper. Childhood come full circle in the sweetest possible way.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney // I have loved this book for years; her travels, her work, her little cottage by the sea, and the lovely thing she does to "make the world more beautiful." Miss Rumphius would be the dearest kind of lady to know.

Corduroy by Don Freeman // a classic that I think must sit on every child's shelf.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman // 7 kids, insanely picky eaters, an exhausted mama, lessons learned, a happy ending, all wrapped up in delightful rhymes.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans // The whimsy of the illustrations in the Madeline books feels, to me, like Paris must feel: dreamy, fanciful, full of art. 

George Washington's Cows by David Small // Hilarious and happy. A lighthearted piece of "history." ;) 

James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot // Some of the most tender, gorgeous stories from the heart of a faithful British veterinarian and the illustrations are at the top of some of my forever favorites list.

Our Corner Grocery Store by Joanne Schwartz // This was a library find that was read about 136 times in the span of the few weeks that we had it, so it had to become a staple on our bookshelf. It's delightful. 

Paddington by Michael Bond // Truly, what's more charming than a bear who travels to England from darkest Peru with suitcase full of marmalade??

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson // The "Bear" books were a Chick-Fil-A kids meal discovery that won a spot in AK's heart a few years ago and have sat on our shelf ever since. There's a whole sweet little collection.

It's just a handful of a list, but it is a beautiful place to start. 

Happy Reading, dear ones!

titles for 2017

One of my favorite pieces of gathering together my thoughts and plans for a new year is the compiling of my new year book list. I am sure that pile of new reads has to be one of the most delightful things the world has to offer.

"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book." ~ Jane Smiley

I haven't set a particular number of books to read this year, though I would like to. I have, however, set one goal: I shall not buy another book until I have made good progress through the stack that has come to collect on my desk and nightstand over the past 6 months. With a list of titles such as these I already have much goodness to savor. So hold me to it, friends. I must be strong.

So here is my list as it stands now (not necessarily in this order):

1. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

3. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

4. Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler

5. Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs

6. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

7, The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

8. Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch

9. Everyday Talk by John A. Younts

10. Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr

There are other titles that whirl around in my head as possibilities for the days ahead, but I'm sticking with these 10 as my beginning. And I'm quite happy with them.

Right now I am reading.......

The second book of the Wingfeather Saga: North! Or Be Eaten -- it reminds me of Harry Potter in its incredible creativity and imagery, yet told with such real emotion and wisdom. I've never seen my husband read a book series so quickly!

 Praying the Lord's Prayer by J.I. Packer for our January women's bible study at church. Here's a nugget from the first chapter: "Conversations with parents or wise friends whom we love and respect, and who are ready to help us by advice and action, feel neither pointless nor tedious, and we gladly give time to them -- indeed, schedule time for them -- because we value them, and gain from them. This is how we should think of times of communion with God in prayer......" Oh, what wisdom! Plus, he threw in the phrase higgledy-piggledy in the second chapter.....what could be more delightful?

 Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder as we are walking this new road with our sweet one. So grateful for those who study our minds and bodies and who are eager to use their knowledge to help.

And I am going to begin checking off my new list by picking Missional Motherhood back up. I had started it back several months ago, but had to set it down as life demands hit hard. I can't wait to read this gem. I've heard only lovely things about it.

Sometime in the next few weeks I'm going to share with you all what drives my decisions to read the books that I do, but for now I will leave it here. 

What books are you looking forward to reading this year? Do you have any suggestions of must-reads that need to go on my book list for later in the year?

"I cannot live without books." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Happy Reading, lovelies!

 

book review || seasons of waiting

"God's discipline through waiting is good for us and will lead to deeper peace and good fruit in our lives.

Waiting exposes our idols and throws a wrench into our coping mechanisms. It brings us to the end of what we can control and forces us to cry out to God. God doesn't waste our waiting. He uses it to conform us to the image of his Son.

But sanctification is not the only purpose God has in mind when he takes us into the school of waiting. When we wait, God gives us the opportunity to live out a story that portrays the gospel and serves as a kingdom parable."

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This book, you guys. This wonderful, rich, timely book. There's about 501 things I could say about what a gift it has been for my heart to read this book and be left in complete awe at the Lord's timing in it all. This theme of waiting has resounded heavily in our lives for several years now, but this past year the waiting has held particular significance for me. The significance has come, most especially, I think, because my heart roots are being shaken and stirred; shaken to get rid of those nasty awful sins that continue to rise up and stirred to gain a more deeply rooted trust in my Father. So picking up this book for me couldn't have come at a more timely moment, and I've no doubt the Lord knew that. 

My favorite thing about this book is how the author, Betsy Childs Howard, writes with the most beautiful thread of an eternal perspective woven throughout all the pages. She balances so well the truths of present suffering and eternal hope. She writes with understanding, reminding us that grief and longing are not sinful in and of themselves: "Contentment and grief are not incompatible states. Just as we weep over violence and death and sin, it is appropriate to weep over a womb that has not born a child. All is not as it should be. The pain of infertility should send us deep into the goodness of God for comfort. You can find contentment in the mercies of a tender Father as you grieve the barrenness of your womb. Grieving at the brokenness of this world points beyond to the life to come." (This is from the chapter on Waiting for a Child, but I believe it carries over to whatever form of "waiting" we are facing.) The grief, the longing, are real, heavy, overwhelming struggles (look at David in the Psalms), but they can drive us to our gentle Father for the comfort that we need (again, look at David) and point us to eternity where we will know perfect satisfaction in His presence, all our longings satisfied.

One of the lines that J and I have often repeated to each other throughout the past year, in particular, is, "I want to wait well." How I loved that when I opened up this book one of the first sentences I read was: "God wants me to learn how to wait so that I can wait well, even if my waiting continues for the rest of my life." He wants us to learn to wait well, by His power and grace, and with the knowledge that He isn't going to "waste our waiting", but has purposes beyond even what we can see right in front of us (1 Cor. 13:12).

I set this book down feeling as if a friend had come alongside, put her arm around me, and just spent a few hours speaking truth to me. Truths about the character of God, the seen and unseen purposes of God, the way He intimately knows me and loves me, and the opportunity for my story to be a canvas for His glory to be seen by the world around me. There is beauty to be found in these painful seasons, dear ones, because we have a God who loves us so well and remains steadfastly on His throne. 

This book is a wealth of help and encouragement. Truths of comfort and clarity spill out of the pages. Betsy Howard writes that way; a gentle voice of firm truth, and I love that. We need that. It's all I can do to not just buy boxes full from Amazon so that I can hand them out to everyone I come in contact with. It's a gem of a book, my friends. You must, must, must read it.

"I still struggle with wanting God's gifts more than I want him. But I'm grateful that God continues to withhold some of his gifts in order to satisfy me with himself. The presence of God in the darkness of our trials is a small foretaste of the presence of God that we will know in the eternal light of his glory. It is in the absence of God's gifts that I learn the Giver himself is the greatest gift of all."

Happy Monday, friends! I hope it's a sweet one for you.

*Seasons of Waiting on Amazon